The iPhone 5 officially hits retail outlets on September 21 and the world is abuzz with anticipation. Lines started forming outside the Cube (Apple's flagship store on 5th Avenue in New York City) this past Friday, a full week before the iPhone 5 could be purchased at the store.
If you're lucky enough to get your hands on one of the 45 million iPhone 5s that are expected to be sold through this holiday season, you may want to protect it with a blinged out 18-karat white gold case set with 2,830 natural blue sapphires, 28 natural rubies in the shape of the Apple symbol and a single marquise-cut green sapphire representing the Apple leaf. The total weight of all the gemstones exceeds 172 carats and the price tag is $100,000.
Conceived by The Natural Sapphire Company, New York, the gem-encrusted iPhone 5 case can be ordered in custom variations. One suggestion from the company is a platinum case set with yellow or pink sapphires. The company reports that their gemstones are sourced from mines in Africa, Sri Lanka, Madagascar and Thailand.
If you love the bling but need to stay within a more modest budget, a company called Crystal Rocked just released an iPhone 5 case blazing with more than 1,300 Swarovski crystals. Handcrafted in London, the cases are made from a hard-shell plastic with a wall thickness of 1mm. The cases are chromed to offer extra strength and to give the crystal a higher sparkle. The price tag: $242.
Reviewers report that the main difference between the iPhone 5 and its iPhone predecessor is its taller, thinner design. The display now measures 4 inches diagonally (up from 3.5 inches), which gives the user an extra row of icons and more space for browsing, apps, and movies. The device runs on a faster chip, boasts camera improvements and has an extra microphone. Prices for the new model range from $199 for the 16GB model to $399 for the 64GB version. These prices reflect a two-year contract with a phone carrier.
How hot is the new iPhone 5? Well, a J.P. Morgan economist reported that the new Apple release could actually alter the trajectory of the U.S. economy. Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist for J.P. Morgan, estimated that booming sales of the iPhone 5 and its ancillary products could boost the U.S. gross domestic product by more than $12 billion or .33 percentage points over the next 12 months. Wow.